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Investigators net 2 sex offenders living off grid

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

FALKVILLE — A series of search warrants is being executed after a 17-year-old runaway did something unusual for a runaway — she went straight to authorities, said Chief Deputy Mike Corley of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

The runaway, it turned out, fled a home she shared with a sex offender, Corley said Friday.

Investigators arrested a man and his stepson Tuesday in connection with the investigation. Both men, Melvin Oneal Mears, 55, and Kelley Reno Harville, 27, of Falkville, were convicted sex offenders.

Corley said an investigation is under way into allegations made by the teen. Corley declined to reveal specifics about the allegations.

"Through statements of the juvenile and other evidence being gathered, there is the possibility of further charges" against Mears and Harville, said Corley.

Corley said the investigation first led to a home at 489 Mill Creek Road, Falkville, where deputies found Mears residing. They arrested him on charges of failing to register and living with a minor, which is prohibited under the terms of his probation.

Investigators also learned that Harville, who had registered that address as his own with the sheriff's department, had moved to a residence in Cullman County, Corley said.

They arrested Harville on charges of violating registration and failing to notify the county of his intent to move.

Investigators searched the Cullman County residence Friday and ascertained that Harville had been living there and paying rent and utilities.

Harville could now face charges of failing to register in Cullman County, Corley said.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Safety's Web site, Harville was convicted in Limestone County in 2004 in the second-degree rape of a 14-year-old girl.

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